A day after Russian strikes killed civilians and targeted non-military infrastructure around Kherson, President Volodymyr Zelensky warned on Tuesday that Russia was poised to increase such attacks this winter, especially on power supplies, as his administration pleaded with Western partners to send more air defenses.
“The military reported an increase in the number of enemy assaults,” AFP quoted Zelensky as saying, singling out Russian attacks around the cities of Donetsk, Kupyansk and Avdiivka. He described the Kherson shelling, which killed three adults and injured a two-month-old baby, as “revenge” and “without any military necessity.”
On Monday, Ukrainian troops made gains in the pivotal city of Avdiivka, a stronghold in the otherwise-occupied Donetsk region, and along the left bank of the Dnipro River, where Kyiv’s forces have been inching eastward from recently liberated areas around Kherson.
Zelensky highlighted these successes as he assured his Western partners that the war with Russia was not at a stalemate, as many pundits have suggested.
“Russia is already losing more personnel and equipment near Avdiivka, and at a faster pace, than was the case in Bakhmut, for example,” Zelensky said in a video post on Tuesday evening, after meetings with Ukraine’s military and intelligence leaders.
Ukraine’s Armed Forces (AFU) puts the figure of Russian losses on the eastern front over the past two weeks at about 4,000 troops and 500 pieces of equipment, according to Ukrinform.
“The more Russian forces that are destroyed near Avdiivka now, the worse the overall frontline situation for Russia will be,” Zelensky said, adding that Putin is counting on some “tactical” successes in Ukraine ahead of Russian elections.
Putin currently has a very cynical and clear goal. He is willing to waste whatever number of his own people in order to demonstrate at least some tactical result until mid-December, when he plans to announce his presidential campaign.— Volodymyr Zelenskyy / Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) November 14, 2023
Russia already loses more people and… pic.twitter.com/I0vhfKdos0
Meanwhile, in Washington, Andriy Yermak, Zelensky’s chief of staff, wrapped up meetings with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, repeating Kyiv’s requests for more defenses.
“As winter approaches, we expect the Russian missile terror to intensify,” Yermak posted on Telegram after the meetings.
“Therefore, we are in dire need of air and missile defense systems that will protect Ukrainian cities, key critical infrastructure facilities, and grain corridor routes,” Yermak said.
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